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Do you have Splenius Capitis Neck Pain and Headache?

Splenius Capitis Muscle Syndrome is a facial pain condition first described by Dr. Ernest in 1983. The injured muscle radiates pain from the rear of the head, up over the ear, to the cheek-bone, into the temple and behind as well as over the eye. This disorder also radiates pain to the neck, shoulder and the arm. In the intense phase of the headache, there may by sensitivity of the eye to light as well as nausea and vomiting. The symptoms may mimic Migraine headache and Temporal Tendonitis.




The best test to see if the Splenius Capitis Muscle is causing the pain is to inject 1/2 cc of local anesthetic mixed with Cortisone into the painful area at the rear of the head. 

Splenius Capitis Neck Pain and Headache

The pain reference areas from Splenius Capitis Muscle Syndrome are located at the following sites:

  1. Rear or head aches and hurts

  2. Lateral temple headache

  3. Headache and pressure behind eye

  4. Aching pain above eye

  5. Cheek bone under eye may ache

  6. Eye hurts and may be sensitive to light

  7. Neck, should and arm pain

Note: Nausea and vomiting is often experienced by the patient when the headache is intense.


Splenius Capitis Neck Pain and Headache

Splenius Capitis Muscle Syndrome


Injury to this muscle often results from motor vehicular accidents, falls, blunt trauma, and repeated or prolonged head posture such as looking up to the 10 and 2 o'clock positions.


Doctors who treat  painful muscle and ligament injuries have noted that about 85% of patients who suffer  pain and headache respond favorably to conservative treatment using oral and injectable medications.  Those patients who respond to medications usually have been hurting less than six months.  For patients who have hurt longer than six months, a smaller percentage improve from medications, but most hurting over six months have some degenerative change that requires more advanced treatment  

 One of the advanced treatments that Dr. Ernest utilizes for muscle and ligament injuries is the use of  radiofrequency thermoneurolysis.  The treatment uses a micro cautery to painlessly put injured muscle/nerve fibers and ligament/nerve fibers to sleep permanently, in most cases.

There is usually no need for hospitalization.   The procedure is done in the clinic using local anesthetic to help prevent pain or discomfort. It is an example of modern medicine and technology making treatment more comfortable and much safer for the patient. 


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